COOPERTOWN – The question leading up to the eventual meeting of the two Lebanon 12-under Dixie Youth majors all-stars teams was which was the better team. On Saturday night, it was the Lebanon Nationals by one run in extra innings.
The Nationals (7-0) gave the Lebanon Americans (7-1) their first loss of the season, 7-6, in the two teams’ district tournament.
With the win, the Nationals next see action Sunday at 4 p.m. The Americans next play Sunday at 2 p.m. in the double-elimination tournament. The two teams’ opponents will be determined Sunday morning.
It was a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the eighth inning that proved to be the difference as Ryan Jackson drew the walk and Bryce Miller crossed the plate for the Nationals.
Trailing 3-1 in the top of the sixth, the Americans’ Luke Bradshaw hit a line drive double into left field that scored Jeremiah Hastings and advanced Braden Reece to third. Reece scored on an error on the next play to tie the game, 3-3. The Americans took the lead, 4-3, on the following play when Carson Boles hit a sacrifice to score Bradshaw.
The Nationals evened things in the bottom of the sixth when Bryce Miller hit a line drive single to center field, scoring Chase Birdwell from second.
The Americans broke the lead, 6-4, in the top of the eighth on a Bradshaw two-run homerun that also scored Reece.
The Nationals came back in the bottom of the eighth when Garrett Pope scored on a wild pitch. With the bases loaded, Braxton Swann drew a walk that scored Tyson Kelly to tie the game, 6-6. Kolby Gaines hit a grounder to Americans shortstop Gaven Reasonover, who threw to the catcher, Reece, for the play at home for the innings first out. A bases-loaded walk drawn during the next at bat, however, gave the Nationals the win.
Jackson racked up four RBIs on two hits for the Nationals. Miller and Swann each had an RBI in the game.
Pope got the win in relief for the Nationals, pitching one inning and allowing no runs. Gaines started the game, going three innings and striking out two. Birdwell pitched four innings, striking out five.
For the Americans, Bradshaw went 3-for-4 at the plate with two homers, four RBIs and two runs scored. Boles also added an RBI.
Brady Chappell started the game on the mound for the Americans, pitching three innings with five strikeouts. Mark McDearman pitched the next three innings with two strikeouts. Kameron Bond pitched 1 2/3 innings and struck out one. Hastings was charged with the loss, pitching the final 1/3 inning.
Americans 10, Coopertown 0
On Saturday afternoon, the Americans run-ruled host-team Coopertown, 10-0, in four innings.
Lebanon took an early 2-0 lead in the first when Reece singled to left, scoring Reasonover from third. Birdwell then singled to center, scoring Reese, who stole third on the previous play.
Reece struck out the three batters he faced in the top of the third to bring the Americans back to the plate. Hastings then hit a three-run homer that scored Spencer Sorce and Seth Beck. Reece later scored on a passed ball to give the Americans a 6-0 lead.
Lebanon also added four runs in the fourth. The first came on an RBI single to left by Cory Jones that scored Bond. Reasonover then hit a hard grounder to center that scored Jones and advanced Evan Britt to third. Reasonover stole second on the next play. Hastings then reached on an error at first that scored Britt. Reece then hit a double to left that scored Reasonover from second to end the game.
Reece went the distance for the Americans on the mound. In four innings, Reece struck out eight, allowed one hit and gave up one walk.
The win advanced the Americans to an eventual 7-6 loss against the Nationals later Saturday.
Nationals 13, Springfield 1
On Saturday afternoon, the Nationals run-ruled Springfield, 13-1, in four innings.
Leading 3-1, Lebanon put the game out of reach in the third inning, adding six runs. Alex Cook and Kelly each scored on wild pitches before Birdwell scored on an error. Another pair of wild pitches scored Swann and Gaines, and another error scored Jackson to give the Nationals a 9-0 lead.
An error and a wild pitch during the first and Jayden Jobe’s stealing home in the second helped the Nationals take an early 3-0 lead.
Kelly racked up two RBIs on a homer in the fourth for the Nationals. Jobe and Gaines each had one RBI.
J.D. Usrey pitched the first two innings. Springfield managed just two hits off Usrey, who allowed no earned runs, walked none and struck out five.
The win advanced the Nationals to an eventual 7-6 win over the Americans later Saturday.